Note: This post is a continuation of a conversation about calling, which started with my post The Story of how I Meandered My Way to My Calling, the Epiphany that Changed My Life, and Encouragement for Your Journey (formerly titled, Finding Your Calling, Part 1). You can read that post here.
I sat in the coffee shop debating my next step. I had already decided to go to graduate school. Now I just needed to decide what to study. Against the backdrop of café chatter and between sips of my Americano, I mulled over two options: a master’s in English or a master’s in counseling.
On the one hand, I felt a growing desire to invest in writing. And spending my days drinking tea, reading, and writing sounded like pure bliss!
On the other hand, I knew I wanted to use my life to help people, and I wanted to learn how to better support people through the hard stuff. I hoped counseling would teach me what I needed to know.
I spent the next few days wrestling between what sounded most enjoyable and what seemed to make the most sense. Finally, I decided on what was, in my mind, the sensible route—counseling.
I don’t regret choosing counseling. Even though I eventually decided to leave that career, there were valid reasons I was drawn to it. I learned valuable skills and gained valuable experience, and I believe God has used it to equip me for what I’m doing now. But I do wish I had chosen to simultaneously nurture my desire to write and taken those English classes I’d always wanted to take.
Since then, as I’ve reflected on my choices, I’ve come to recognize several misconceptions that led me to neglect investment into my writing dreams.
One was the belief that writing wasn’t “practical,” particularly financially.
Another was the belief that I would not be helping people as a writer as much as I could as a counselor. I feared that pursuing my dream was self-indulgent. I worried that if I dedicated myself to writing I would cloister myself away from the world and not impact anyone in a meaningful way.
Years after I’d completed my education and was working as a counselor, the desire to write was steadily growing. Yet I was still struggling with my logic. I had specialized training in a field in which I could earn a decent living and to which I had dedicated (when counting my years of education) well over a decade of my life. Did it really make sense to leave that behind?
But as the call to write became clearer, God helped me see some important truths.
He showed me that far from being self-indulgent, writing can be a very powerful way of serving others. He revealed that I can help people through writing just as well, albeit in a different way, as I could through counseling. (In fact, God reminded me that He Himself is the author of a life changing book!!!)
He also reminded me that I should never let my human understanding or what my cultures says is “practical” or “responsible” stop me from following the call God has put in my heart.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t consider practicalities or responsibilities.
Logic is a gift from God, no question about that. But it needs to be submitted to the leading of God’s Spirit. There’s a reason we’re admonished in Proverbs to “trust in the Lord with all your heart, do not depend on our own understanding” (Proverbs 3:4, NLT). Our version of practical and God’s version of practical often look very different.
If I had let them, human logic, misconceptions, and practicalities could have kept me from fully embracing all that God has called me to be.
Of course, not every desire or interest is meant to be our full time calling: I enjoy snowboarding, but I’m not a professional snowboarder.
But when there is a desire that we increasingly dream of dedicating ourselves to—THAT is worth exploring with God. Who knows what possibilities and opportunities He might have in store? After all, He promises to do above and beyond what we can ask, think, or imagine (Ephesians 3:20)! Nothing is impossible with Him!
What is your dream? What gift or desire has been growing in your heart? Do you have dreams of creating vibrant paintings, composing music, pursuing a new career, or starting a business?
Are there any “logical” reasons, cultural attitudes, or misconceptions that have kept you from taking your dream seriously and moving forward in it? I encourage you to take your questions to God and get His perspective on them.
Truly, no dream or desire God puts in your heart is impractical. Everything is for a purpose. When I think of who God is and how big He is, I realize how silly it was for me to think that He couldn’t use my interests, gifts and desires to make a beautiful difference in the world. He is that good, and He is that creative.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT)
I want to hear from you!
What dream do you have tucked in your heart? What might God be calling you to step into in faith? What fears, misconceptions or practicalities about your dream might be holding you back from taking your dream seriously? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!
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